Name: Chef Alex Hoefer
Name of Restaurant: Fire Steakhouse and Wind Creek Casino and Hotel Wetumpka
Restaurant Address: 100 River Oaks Drive, Wetumpka, AL 36092
Restaurant Phone Number: 866-946-3360
Where were you born and raised?
Born in Huntsville, AL and raised in Birmingham, AL
What inspired you to become a chef?
I spent my childhood tugging on my grandmothers’ aprons and watching every move they made. My mother is also a phenomenal cook, but ultimately I think the one thing that pulled it all together was watching shows like Great Chefs, Julia Child, The Frugal Gourmet with Jeff Smith, and Cajun Cooking with Justin Wilson, among others. I mean it was pure magic. My grandfather would record the shows on VHS and we would watch the episodes and reproduce the dishes. At that young age, I did not realize it was paving the road to my future.
What other jobs have you worked within the food industry?
I have worked as a server, busboy, bartender, commis, line cook, sous chef, butcher, dishwasher, banquet chef, and culinary instructor; many of these at the same point in time between two or three restaurants.
Where did you train to become a chef?
I have been working in restaurants and kitchens since I was 13, and I attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY when I was 27. I have been fortunate enough to have worked all over the United States. It has been a great ride so far and a fortunate education alongside many talented chefs and cooks now running their own kitchens. As a chef, you are always training and learning. You never turn down more work or the opportunity to learn and grow.
Who is the most notable person you’ve ever cooked for?
The Culinary Council for the Bocuse d’Or USA finals in 2012. Among them, Thomas Keller, Grant Achatz, Jerome Bocuse, Scott Boswell, Michael Cimarusti, Shaun Hergatt, Gabriel Kreuther, Barbara Lynch, George Mendes, Roland Passot, Michael White, and Alan Wong. A well rounded crew for sure!
If you could cook for with any celebrity of historical figure, who would it be?
Bill Murray. I hear that guy really loves food and wine.
What are your favorite hobbies?
I love charcuterie and sausage making at home. I love the outdoors and being near the water. And Star Wars…yeah, I’m one of those guys.
What are your professional goals?
I would love to own my own place someday. I guess that’s the goal for most of us cook types. Nothing fancy, just a spot to enjoy some tasty morsels and put your elbows up if you feel like it. I have plans, but they will be revealed at a later date. It would be great to one day return to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and teach as a chef instructor. I have always loved the sharing of knowledge and techniques. What better place to download all of this info than to a place that trains the future of our great industry.
What’s your favorite seafood dish to serve up for yourself and your family?
Myself, I love ice cold oysters on the half shell. For my family, a good ol’ shrimp boil. As long as it’s delicious Gulf seafood! Add small sweet potatoes to your next boil, just a heads up.
What makes Alabama Gulf Seafood special?
I think what really makes Alabama Gulf Seafood so amazing is the people who work hard every single day to not only promote it but preserve it as well. They act as champions and guardians of an entire industry and ecosystem so that we may have these products for the future generations of chefs and home cooks. We always say love should be the number one ingredient. Well, there you go, all the love you need.